How could such a thing happen? But it did happen. I wasn’t one of the others, observing. It happened to me.
One hot summer’s day, two-year-old Jessica Preston disappears from the beach. The police are convinced she drowned, but Sandra Preston won’t give up hope that her daughter is still alive. How can she?
Twenty years later, another child goes missing, and Sandra is approached by a young journalist who raises questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston all those years ago. But when the journalist discovers someone with an explosive secret, it threatens not only to reveal what’s been covered up for so long, but puts both their lives in danger.
For a sneak peek into the opening of the book, click here.
A beautifully written novel about a harrowing subject which is sensitively handled by Young. Child Taken centres around two strong female protagonists; firstly there is Laura who is a budding journalist for the local paper. Upon reporting upon a child who has gone missing locally, she discovers the story of Sandra whose daughter has been missing for two decades. Sandra still vehemently believes that her child was taken by someone from the beach rather than the official line of thought that Jessica was taken away by a rip-tide and drowned.
When Jessica disappeared, there was very little coverage within the national press relating to the search therefore Laura decides to share Sandra’s story now. Upon seeing this story, Danni believes that she may be missing Jessica. Danni has recently lost her mother and her father is acting very shifty to say the least therefore Danni and Laura join forces to seek out the truth – despite the fact that someone is trying pretty hard to warn Laura off. This only provides Laura with more fight as she takes this as evidence that she is on the right tracks to find out the truth for Sandra and produce a massive scoop! What I particularly liked in this book was the relationship between these 2 young women, they have no connection other than this story but they are both determined to find out the truth, no only for themselves but also for Sandra.
Young has written a novel in which the reader really gets to know the characters, he shares the thoughts, feelings and concerns of both Danni and Laura which really brings these two to life. Young also includes within his narrative the voice of the husband who aided and abetted his wife in the abduction of Jessica as well as that of Sandra from the day it happened through to present day which gave another side of the story. Right from the outset, the reader is aware as to the circumstances around Jessica’s abduction and the rationale behind the event itself from the abductors.
This is a stunning debut novel which is not afraid of tackling a difficult subject. It is exceptionally plotted out and includes great detail into the events and the personal stories of all involved.
Darren Young was born in 1971 in the West Midlands and now lives in Nottingham with his wife, Luisa and their two children, Alessio and Emilia.
His background is in customer service, working in financial services and then as a consultant in the UK and Europe, then later a director with CSN. He has a master’s degree in business administration.
He’d always enjoyed writing – he used to chronicle his family holidays as a child – and, in his spare time, along with the occasional game of tennis, he wanted to try his hand at writing a real book but didn’t think there was enough room in his already busy life to fit it in.
Luckily, he found a sympathetic coffee shop and plenty of encouragement from those around him and he began working on Child Taken at the end of 2014 after hearing a radio news bulletin whilst in the car and having an idea before the end of the journey that is 95% intact in the published book.
Child Taken is due out on 18 May 2017.
Darren is currently writing his next novel.